From Pen, Thailand to University of Penn, Part 1

Survey at Ban Pone, Phen District, Udorn Thani Province, NE Thailand, 1999
Survey at Ban Pone, Pen District, Udorn Thani Province, NE Thailand, 1999. Photo by Korokot Boonlop

Let’s go to Pen!
In 1999, three friends and I went to Udorn Thani Province in Northeast Thailand to participate in the Ban Chiang Cultural Tradition Project at Ban Pone, Pen District. We were all archaeological students from Silpakorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. The Project was conducted by Korokot Boonlop , an archaeologist from the 7th Regional Office of Archaeology and National Museums, Fine Arts Department (FAD).

Ban Pone is one of 126 Ban Chiang Cultural Tradition (BCCT) Sites that was discovered by Thai and foreign archaeologists in the Sakon Nakhon Basin as well as adjacent parts of northern Thailand during 1991 and 1992. The archaeologists were looking for sites affiliated with the Ban Chiang Cultural Tradition. The BCCT is one of the important projects conducted after the FAD-Penn excavations in 1974-75.

“Where is your site?” is a question often asked by our friends at the University. We always reply to them that our site was at “Pen”. In a way, it seemed like we already worked at the University of Penn, where the The Ban Chiang Project has been housed since 1974. That was the beginning, when I started strongly imagining about being a part of Penn and the Ban Chiang Project!

The Henry Luce Foundation, as part of its commitment to international collaboration in Asian archaeology and the training of new scholars, is supporting two new interns in the Ban Chiang Project. From September 2010-May 2011, Bounheuang Bouasisengpaseuth, a Deputy Director of the Lao National Museum in Vientiane, Laos, and Sureeratana Bubpha of Thammasat University, Bangkok, are studying Ban Chiang ceramics under the supervision of Dr. White, Dr. Boileau, and Professor Tartaron. They are focusing specifically on the more than 500 ceramic vessels excavated by the University of Pennsylvania at Ban Chiang.

To be continued…

Click here for the Thai translation of this blog.

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  • mgleeson

    Hello,

    The edges of the eyes are part of the inlay and are made of a copper
    alloy (meaning that we have a mixture of copper and tin, just like in a
    bronze, but we don’t know the respective percentage of each one so we
    use a general name). There is no wood at all in those edges and they are
    indeed well-preserved, apart from some (usual !) copper corrosion
    products.

    If you are interested in those eyes, a post to come will focus on them
    and their materials, but for now we are still analyzing them, especially
    using pXRF (to know more about pXRF in the Lab: http://www.penn.museum/sites/artifactlab/2012/10/26/pxrf-in-the-artifact-lab/). Thanks for your question !